Business 18 January 2019

Dan Taylor

Thai stock exchange wants digital assets license for crypto trading

The Stock Exchange of Thailand has announced plans to apply for a digital assets license, which would allow the firm to setup a new authorized cryptocurrency exchange in the country, Bangkok Post reported.

The vice chair of the exchange’s board of governors, Pattera Dilokrungthirapop, said the decision was a response to growing investment trends around digital assets, with the exchange keen to provide access to crypto markets through a licensed, regulated platform.

The move will see securities companies operating on the exchange applying to become brokers and dealers for cryptocurrencies and digital assets on the new platform, which is scheduled to be rolled out later this year, assuming the licensing applications are successful.

Should the move go ahead, the stock exchange will become one of the first examples of its kind to set up a separate, regulated exchange specifically for cryptocurrencies and digital assets.

With its financial clout and reputation, the Stock Exchange of Thailand is expected to have little difficulty in obtaining the necessary permissions, with Dilokrungthirapop suggesting they would have “the upper hand” in the market over other, smaller exchanges.

“We [securities firms] are not in a hurry to enter the digital asset trade, as some companies are still managing their core businesses, while cryptocurrencies are just one of the [digital] asset classes where brokers can adapt their trading platforms to serve digital trading,” Dilokrungthirapop said, according to the news outlet. “Securities firms are currently waiting for the SET to apply for a licence. For us, digital assets are expected to grow in the future as investors gain more understanding of this asset class.” 

Since a royal decree on cryptocurrencies and digital assets was issued last May, the role of regulating the sector in Thailand has been passed to the Securities and Exchange Commission, with the Finance Ministry tasked with issuing licenses to operators in the sector—including exchanges like SET.

According to reports, the SET application could spark a wave of applications from smaller firms keen to become licensed as brokers and dealers, which could operate within the new platform.

The move reflects a growing trend from mainstream exchanges towards digital assets, and towards embracing the systems of licensing and regulation for the cryptocurrency sectors.

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (SegWit) chain are referenced as BTC coins; tokens on the Bitcoin Cash ABC chain are referenced as BCH, BCH-ABC or BAB coins.

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